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ECNL Mar 04, 2023

ECNL Girls Florida National Event March 2023: Day 1 Recap

ECNL Florida opened play on Friday with some exciting games all around Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch. Here is a look back on some of the highlights from Friday’s action around the grounds.

Tampa Bay United vs PDA 2-2

At the 08 level, Tampa Bay United and PDA played to a back and forth 2-2 draw. Tampa Bay United opened the scoring in the first half of the game with a ball fired into the lower left corner to give them a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute.

PDA battled back in the second half though, in large part due to consistently getting the ball into some dangerous areas off of free kicks. PDA found the equalizer in the 62nd minute. After that, Tampa Bay United grabbed the lead back at 2-1 in the 72nd minute, but PDA continued to be resilient and found the game tying goal for the second time in the game, this time in the 78th minute to end the game in a 2-2 draw.

After the game, Tampa Bay United Head Coach Zeca Neto was happy with his team’s performance against a strong opponent.

“PDA is the class of the group, so it’s always fun to get a chance to match up against them,” Neto said.

Midwest United FC vs FC Prime 2-1

The scoring got underway quickly between Midwest United FC and FC Prime at the 04-05 level. It only took seven minutes for Jocelyn Herrema to put Midwest United on top 1-0. Soon after, Alex Richardson doubled the Midwest United lead and made it 2-0.

FC Prime battled their way back into the game before halftime though. Lillian Nava scored in the 37th minute to cut the Midwest United lead in half and take the game into the half at 2-1.

In the second half, FC Prime really increased the offensive pressure. Continuously making overlapping runs and playing balls into the box, it looked as though FC Prime would be able to find the equalizing goal at some point in the half, but the Midwest United defense held strong throughout and managed to grind out the 2-1 victory.

“We did well to double up on their players that needed to be doubled up on, we limited their chances, and the one or two chances they got our keeper came up strong,” said Midwest United Head Coach Joe White.

White believes his team can build off their win from Friday and continue to gain some momentum as the weekend progresses.

“We were happy with today and we hope we can use that going forward into the rest of the weekend.”

FC Alliance vs Florida Premier FC 1-0

Also at the 04/05 level, FC Alliance came away with a closely contested 1-0 win over Florida Premier FC. The goal came right before halftime when Alivia Stott broke the deadlock to put FC Alliance on top 1-0 going into the break.

Florida Premier had some good chances in the second half, but FC Alliance continued to put forth a strong defensive effort. In the closing minutes of the game FC Alliance narrowly missed a chance to double their lead as they saw a shot ring off the crossbar, but in the end it did not matter, FC Alliance held onto their clean sheet and were able to come out with the 1-0 victory.

Defensively, FC Alliance Head Coach Jon Schneider was extremely pleased with his team’s performance. “I thought we were great and did a good job clearing the ball when we needed to and passing out of the back when we needed to,” Schneider said. “I thought we adjusted well, worked hard, and I thought they deserved the win.”

Utah Royals FC-AZ vs GSA 2-1

At the 07 age group, Utah Royals FC-AZ used two goals and a strong defensive effort down the stretch to propel themselves to a 2-1 win over GSA.

Ava Ghoreishi opened the scoring in the 21st minute, putting Royals on top 1-0. The goal was answered back just moments later, as GSA’s Angel Jackson made it 1-1 in the 24th minute. The two sides remained knotted going into the half.

In the second half, Royals found the lead again with the eventual game winner in the 59th minute on a goal from Molly Blom. GSA continued to generate chances down the stretch, but the Royals remained strong defensively and saw out the 2-1 victory.

“I think we had to find a bit of a gritty performance,” said Utah Royals FC-AZ Goalkeeper Coach Joe Waggoner. “Towards the end we really solved some of the problems GSA created and we held on for a good win.”

Waggoner believes the performance his team showed today and the work rate they had will be extremely beneficial as they move forward in the season.

“I think grit is always something to admire about a team,” Waggoner said. “We have league games next weekend so we’re really just looking to get back to our system of playing. We’ve got some really good and dynamic players in the middle that possess well. We’ve got a couple really good attacking players. So, just putting all those pieces back together, that’s what we’re going to build over this weekend.”

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